With over 65,000 wine producers in the world, the choice is huge. The odds are stacked against any new winery hoping to make it big in the world of wine and that means that marketing-savvy wine producers use every trick in the book to have their wines represented in as many countries as possible. At the other end of the spectrum, there are wine producers that are so exclusive, that convincing them to import their wines not only takes lots persuasion but also skill, knowledge and a similar outlook.
To put it in simpler terms, an exclusive luxury wine-producer that is in high demand with a select knowledgeable crowd, would not feel comfortable having their wines imported by the bottle-shop round the corner selling supermarket- style wines at five euros a pop. I'm possibly exaggerating a bit here, but if that bottle shop was known for 'entry' level wines, which in itself is fine, their target market is probably not looking for high-end, blue-chip wines, so the fit just wont work. Of course I believe it also works the other way round, where the exclusive, high-end importer probably doesn't have the reach, capacity or logistics set-up to deliver and supply all and sundry with mass production wines every day of the week - it's another misfit yet again.
Here at Vintage'82 we look at selecting our represented wineries in much the same way. The first thing we look at is 'fit'. Does the winery/wine fit our ethos, morals and taste for great wine? Are they looking to grow their brand in a similar way to ours and do both our brands complement each other?
It may sounds a bit airy-fairy, but in a nutshell, do we feel that special bond with this particular wine or winery?
Finding these wines that fit our brand is not particularly easy and most times we target the brands and wineries that we want to represent. We often know which wines would work and we reach out to them, in hope that they feel comfortable with us representing their brand.
It's a big thing! Everything we do represents their brand. Our target-market, our etiquette, our morals and our customer-service is a reflection of both our brands. How many times do we associate a particular brand with the local importer (for better or for worse). I know people who haven't bought brands because of the the local importers' attitude and after-sales service, or lack thereof. Speaking of better or worse, it really is a 'marriage' where the whole is greater than the sum of it's parts.
There are times when branding, like-mindedness and knowledge are not enough in selecting the right wine. For example, in the case of choosing a good-value Bordeaux, the price vs taste scenario is the key. We believe value is defined as a product, in this case wine, that at least, meets or better still surpasses, the customers expectations based on the financial outlay to purchase the product. So, does the wine you bought at €20 a bottle feel and taste of a wine of that value?
In this case, I believe that personal taste plays an essential role in determining value. This often means that value is can depend on the person purchasing. I am convinced that what may be value to one person, is not necessarily value to another. Personal preferences, taste, budget and perception all come into play and therefore it is impossible to always get it right. However, Perception, or forming an opinion based on history or ratings, is something we try to avoid. when choosing our wines, we want to make sure that our perception of the wine is solely based on the taste and flavour profile and not the 'brand' in itself.
In choosing our preferred value-wines, we blind taste our way through a large number of bottles and rate them accordingly. It is a long process that we believe is integral to choosing the wines that we love most...and thus hope that you will love too!
So, irrelevant of whether it is a Saint Emilion Grand Cru, a Cru Bourgeois or Bordeaux Superieur we can be sure to base our selection of wines on our preferred taste!